Mikel Arteta tips ‘special’ Thomas Partey to transform Arsenal’s play

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League
Thomas Partey returned to Arsenal’s starting XI against Newcastle (Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says his side have felt the absence of ‘special’ Thomas Partey during the midfielder’s time on the sidelines.

The Ghanian joined the Gunners in a £45million deal from Atletico Madrid on deadline day in October but his time at the club has been stunted by injury problems.

Partey was back in the starting XI for Monday’s 3-0 win against Newcastle United and he provided a fine assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the second half.

Arsenal’s victory means they’re unbeaten in their last five fixtures in the Premier League, picking up 13 points from the last 15 available.

And Arteta says the return of Partey is crucial to the side’s goal of climbing up the table.

Arsenal v Newcastle United - Premier League
Partey is playing in a more advanced role (Picture: Getty)

‘We have been missing Tommy and he has this presence, this aura, that makes him a special player for us,’ said Arteta.

‘Hopefully we can keep him fit because we can all see the difference he makes on the side and I think he was growing and getting better and better as the game was growing and evolving.’

The midfielder is playing in a more advanced role for the Gunners compared to his days at Atletico.

Arteta believes Partey will grow into a more box-to-box role for the Gunners as he learns to play in a more possession-based side.

‘Yes, he can [have more attacking freedom here than at Atletico Madrid], technically he is more than capable of doing that and he’s great in both transitional moments as well,’ said Arteta.

‘It will take him some time to understand a different way of thinking or doing [things] than what he was doing with the previous team he was involved in. He has all the characteristics that we need to make us better, that’s for sure.

‘His dynamism, his physicality, his creativity and the presence that nature has given him. You have that person on the pitch and you are able to dominate a game when it is needed and Thomas has this quality.’

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